Spencer Garrett: 2023 candidate for Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 board


Town: Wheaton

Age on Election Day: 56

Occupation: Financial services

Employer: Compass Mortgage, Inc

Previous offices held: No public offices. Board of directors for other nonprofits-current treasurer for Life in Messiah


Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: I believe in all 66 books of the Bible and that it is the word of God. This is my “Worldview.”

I believe that truth is outside of each of us and that it is objective, not subjective and up to each of us to decide. I believe that every person is made in the image of God and has infinite worth. Education is very important to me and my family. My daughter is a teacher, and my wife helps out as a teacher's aide.

One particular issue that motivates me as it pertains to CUSD 200 is that I strongly believe that children are given to their parents by God and that parents are responsible and equipped for the task of raising them up. I object to the prevailing notion that the educational establishment is better appointed for this task. I want every family to know that their child is going to be safe, not only physically but mentally as well.

Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?

A: The role of the board is oversight, accountability, and direction

Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?

A: I am about time-tested curriculum that works. I believe we need to get back to the fundamentals of education of teaching core curriculum. I would not endorse new curriculum unless it passes a long period of testing with measurable results.

What is currently going on in CUSD200 has not been effective. We have a learning gap due to COVID, we have declining test scores that have fallen off the cliff. ELA proficiency is down to 43% in math and English. Other districts in Chicago are much higher with schools' ELA proficiency over 80%. Changes to curriculum over the last several years has not helped our children's proficiency. Curricular integrity is a priority for me as well as bringing up our proficiency scores in math, English and science.

Q: How do you view your role in confronting policy or curriculum controversies: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents — even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?

A: If elected, I would view my role as one vote among the board. The majority vote of the board is where ultimate authority lies in these areas. I am open to and prefer to hear from the teachers and parents and give a voice to all constituents regarding policy or curriculum controversies.

Q: Concerns are growing regarding a new resurgence of the pandemic. If another massive outbreak of infectious disease occurs, what have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will guide your decision making?

A: We have learned that the experiments we made as a society have had devastating effects on our children and our families. The learning gap we now have is a direct result of the long period of isolation and masking of our children due to COVID-19. Precautions are necessary at the right time but how we manage that in school versus at home, the duration, and type of caution are all topics that would need to be re-examined.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage school district policy? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your school board.

A: I have been a part of several boards and committees during my lifetime. Adding up total board experience puts me at about 52 years of board life as I have served on multiple boards and have been serving in that capacity since my 20s. I currently serve as a board president of a local chamber orchestra and as treasurer of a ministry in nonprofit work. I approach board work as gathering the information, hearing both sides, being a leader to stand up, and make the right decision. Collaboration, agreement, and building consensus is all part of being on a board.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: I grew up as a child with dyslexia. I understand how difficult it is to learn. This might disqualify me from such a job, but I believe that through that struggle I have become a better person. I certainly understand this learning problem within some of the families that experience it within District 200. That struggle made me work so much harder than many of my friends who could understand things quickly and because of this the work and effort carried on into my adulthood.

I might need to read things more than the next person but once I understand a problem I often see details and issues that are missed by other people. If you read the book “David and Goliath” by Malcom Gladwell. There is a chapter on this learning disability that will help you understand where I am coming from. I believe I will bring common-sense decision making to the board. I will operate as a board member and as a fiduciary with the families and the property taxpayers of our community once elected.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?

A: I would put an end to the gender support plan in District 200 that allows your biological male child to transition to a female or vice versa without parental consent. We need to trust the families of our community to the equipping and raising of their children and their God-given roles as parents and not usurp that authority. In addition, I will support policies which make grade-appropriate homework and intensive study the norm, not the exception.

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